- Perks of getting pet nutrition right with Daventry Vets
- Why neutering is the responsible choice for cat owners in Northamptonshire
- Vet Sarah Aldridge explains causes of bad dog breath and when to be concerned
Perks of getting pet nutrition right with Daventry Vets
As responsible pet owners, we take on the duty of caring for our furry companions in the best possible way. A significant part of this responsibility is ensuring that our pets receive proper nutrition.
Good pet nutrition for dogs and cats is the foundation of their health, happiness, and longevity. In celebration of Responsible Pet Ownership Month, our team at Daventry Vets have some helpful advice for you below, so let’s explore what good pet nutrition looks like and why it’s of paramount importance.
A protein rich diet & adequate hydration
Protein is a vital component of a pet’s diet, helping to build and repair tissues. Look for pet food with a high-quality protein source, such as meat, poultry, or fish. There are also some some vegetarian and vegan diets available. Fresh, clean water is just as crucial as food. Ensure your pet has constant access to water, especially in warm weather or if they are on a dry kibble diet. Our vet’s top tip is to add a splash of water to your pet’s bowl of food to help keep them hydrated.
Properly Balanced Nutrients
Good pet nutrition means a diet that is well-balanced in macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). A balance of these nutrients supports overall health and prevents deficiencies or excesses. One of the most convenient and reliable ways to provide balanced nutrition is through high-quality complete pet food for dogs or cats. Our team can advise on the most suitable pet food brands, call us on 01327 877767.
Age-appropriate food and feeding routine
Pets have different nutritional needs at different stages of life. Choose complete pet food specifically formulated for your pet’s life stage, whether they are a kitten, puppy, adult, or senior. These formulas are designed to provide the right balance of nutrients, so follow the feeding instructions to work out how much food your pet needs and how often.
Depending on your dog or cat’s lifestyle, they may need an increase or decrease in the amount of food they consume to ensure they stay at a healthy weight. Daventry Vets’ nurses can help you work this out and give your pet regular weight checks – book a nurse appointment for your pet.
Diets for medical conditions
There are an increasing number of diets formulated and proven to help with medical conditions. These should only be used on veterinary recommendation. Some for example renal (kidney) diets can slow the progression of disease.
The importance of good pet nutrition
- Health and longevity: Proper nutrition can prevent or manage various health issues, including obesity, allergies, and digestive problems.
- Energy and vitality: Pets with balanced diets are more active, playful, and enthusiastic about life – prepare for some exciting adventures in and around Northamptonshire with your dog!
- Weight management: Maintaining an ideal body weight is essential for your pet’s overall health. Good nutrition, combined with portion control, helps prevent obesity and related health problems. Come and see our nurses if you’d like help with this.
- Strong immune system: Proper nutrition supports a robust immune system, helping your pet resist illness and recover faster when they do get sick.
- Shiny coat and healthy skin: A well-balanced diet enhances the appearance of your pet’s coat and keeps their skin healthy, reducing the risk of dryness, itching, and allergies.
- Improved digestion: Good pet nutrition promotes healthy digestion, reducing the likelihood of stomach upset, diarrhoea, or constipation.
Good pet nutrition is at the core of responsible pet ownership, and it plays a pivotal role in our pets’ health and wellbeing. By selecting high-quality complete pet food, considering their life stage, and monitoring their diet, we can help our furry friends to thrive and enjoy happy, healthy lives by our sides.
Join us in celebrating Responsible Pet Ownership Month and book a consult with our nurses to ensure your pet’s diet is the best it can be.
Vet Sarah explains pet diabetes.
To help raise awareness of diabetes in dogs and cats, our Veterinary Surgeon Sarah Aldridge wants to educate pet owners on the condition. In the paragraphs below, Vet Sarah will cover: the condition itself, how Daventry Vets will diagnose and treat the condition and how your pet’s care would need to be altered if they receive a diabetes diagnosis.
If you are concerned your own pet may have some symptoms of diabetes, then do not hesitate to contact Daventry Vets’ reception team on 01327 877767 or you can book online.
Like humans cats and dogs can become diabetic. This happens when they produce little or no insulin. Insulin is made in an organ called the pancreas. It allows the body’s cells to uptake sugar from the blood to use as fuel.
Diabetes in dogs is like Type 1 diabetes in humans. Some of the breeds most commonly affected are West Highland White Terriers, Beagles, Bichon Frise, Labradors, Dachshund, Samoyed and crossbreeds. The age of onset is usually middle age. Intact female dogs are twice as likely to get diabetes as spayed ones and often develop it around a season.
Diabetes in cats is more like type 2 diabetes and overweight cats are certainly more at risk. It generally occurs later in life but sometimes occurs in younger cats.
Symptoms of diabetes in your pet
Sarah wants owners to be aware that early detection of diabetes is key in providing your pet with the medical treatment they need to manage the condition. The following symptoms are all indicators that your pet may be suffering from diabetes:
- Increased thirst.
- Increased urination:
- Weight loss despite a good appetite
- Deteriorating body condition
- Altered appetite. This can be increased during the earlier stages as glucose ( blood sugar) cannot be used by the body’s cells for fuel. If left untreated then appetite can be decreased as using fat and protein stores for energy can make your pet feel unwell.
- Reduced energy.
Diagnosis & treatments available for pet diabetes
The first step to diagnosing diabetes in your pet is test a urine sample. We can provide a suitable collection device and sample pot. If glucose is present in their urine blood tests will need to be taken to confirm the diagnosis.
Following the tests, your vet will then create a management plan, involving insulin injections to be given at home, controlled exercise, and a controlled feeding schedule. We recommend Intact female dogs are spayed otherwise hormonal changes can make treatment extremely difficult.
Help your pet live with diabetes
Diabetes is a lifelong condition in dogs. Cats can occasionally go into remission, but for most it is lifelong.
Your pet’s nutrition plays a big part in helping them to cope with diabetes. Our vets at Daventry Vets will always recommend a type and brand of food that will work best for your individual pet. However, if your pet is a fussy eater then make sure you chat to Sarah or any of our vets before moving them onto a different kind of food. Looking for foods that slowly release sugars and removing all treats from their diet will help to keep their blood-glucose levels consistent.
Regular exercise is essential when it comes to managing diabetic pets. It helps to prevent weight gain and also helps your pet’s glucose regulation. Our vets will recommend an exercise regime to follow daily to help keep them healthy.
Monitoring blood-glucose levels
Sarah explains that if your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, our vets will train you on how to monitor your pet’s blood-glucose levels at home. We ask you to do this periodically to monitor treatment. The vet can advise you if any dose changes are needed.
Routines are key!
Sarah wants owners to understand that if your dog receives a diabetic diagnosis, then routine is key to keeping them as healthy as possible. Your feeding and walking schedule will need to happen at certain times of the day, as well as monitoring them and insulin injections.
We hope our advice will help owners with undiagnosed diabetic pets to receive the diagnosis and treatment they need. Remember, early intervention is key in your pet living a happy and comfortable life. Contact us on 01327 877767 or use our online booking system to book a diabetes check for your pet at Daventry Vets.
Vet Sarah Aldridge champions these 6 simple lifestyle changes for older dogs
As our pets get older their needs change. Head Vet Sarah Aldridge advises that dog owners will need to adapt their pet’s home environment, lifestyle, and routine to reflect these changes and give their pet the best quality of life in their senior and geriatric years.
Our veterinary team at Daventry Vets are highly experienced when it comes to treating senior pets and are here to help if you have noticed your dog struggling with mobility or simple tasks. Perhaps their behaviour has changed too?
Bring your dog in for a senior health check so our vets can see what’s going on and offer you practical advice.
Home & lifestyle changes for senior dogs
Adapting your senior dog’s home environment and routine is important to ensure their comfort and wellbeing. Sarah recommends implementing these 6 changes and lifehacks to help make life easier for them.
- Avoid any impactful exercise such as jumping and ball catching if your dog has osteoarthritis
- Add non-slip rugs (or anti-slip tape underneath existing rugs) to laminate/tiled floors to prevent slips
- Raise food and water bowls off the floor
- Add ramps to steps or flooring height changes where your dog may struggle
- Get good quality, supportive bedding – try memory foam
- Do little exercise more often, rather than fewer long walks
Now, let’s look at these points in more detail.
Simple environment and lifestyle changes really can have a huge impact on your senior dog’s comfort levels, as well as their mental health. Exercising regularly can help to keep their joints moving and give their minds regular mental stimulation. Sarah recommends maintaining your dog’s level of exercise if they are able to do so. It’s better to split it into 2 or even 3 shorter walks if possible. Try to take them somewhere to get mental stimulation, up and down the road my not be as exciting as the woods or a park.
Swimming can be a great exercise for senior dogs as the warm water supports their joints and helps to strengthen muscles, whilst having a positive impact on their overall wellbeing. Talk to one of our experienced vets or nurses at Daventry Vets about how to get a vet referral for canine hydrotherapy and physiotherapy.
Modern day houses often have laminate and tiled flooring which can be a slip hazard to many dogs. As well as causing injuries, pets can develop anxiety about walking across flooring. Using non-slip rugs and runners is a great way of helping to give your dog stability and better grip so those incidents can be avoided. Lifehack – you can buy anti-slip tape to go under rugs too.
Food & water bowls
Many dogs eat and drink from a bowl off the floor. This can put a lot of pressure on their front legs when leaning down and make it uncomfortable. Raising the bowls up helps to relieve the pressure off their legs and makes eating and drinking more comfortable.
As well as impactful exercises, Sarah advises that it’s also important to consider the day-to-day activities that may be a concern. Activities such as going up and down stairs, jumping on and off the bed or settee, and in and out of the car, all put added pressure on a dog’s joints. Using ramps is a great way of still enabling your pet to do these activities but without the stress on their joints that can cause discomfort.
Appropriate bedding can really make the difference between a comfortable or uncomfortable rest. Using a large flat bed is best for older dogs allowing them to stretch out. Memory foam beds usually give good support whilst being comfortable and are a great option for arthritic dogs. We recommend the Big Bed Dog Company. They are extremely knowledgeable and can help you choose the best bed for your dog.
For pets showing signs of incontinence, the use of toddler mattresses can be a great way of giving them comfort whilst keeping their bed hygienic.
Many of these simple changes really can make huge improvements to your dog’s comfort. However, different dogs have different needs based on their health, size, and activity levels.
Discussing your pet’s needs with one of the vets or nurses at our Daventry practice can help you identify more of these simple changes that can make a big difference.
Senior dogs & arthritis
Our team can also help you learn how to manage canine arthritis at home – a condition that affects most senior dogs. Speak to our team at Daventry Vets about the many resources that are available for arthritic dogs and the support we can offer to your pet and you – get in touch.
You may also find the Canine Arthritis Management website helpful as it has advice and products for arthritic dogs – visit it now.